Thursday, November 12, 2015

November 12 2015. Social capitalism (Northern European style) works pretty well because much of the nastiness is filtered out while retaining private enterprise and competition. The unfettered American Business Model (widely called ‘Crony Capitalism because it tends to be incestuously linked to government in various unhealthy ways) is largely unfiltered, and is nasty in so many practices that it is hard not to feel pretty damn disgusted. The quality of American life is being debased—and Americans are dying prematurely in large numbers as a consequence. The absence of concern by the movers and shakers is profoundly disturbing. They don’t seem to give a damn. I’m not ashamed to say: I do.




I don’t want to suggest that there aren’t plenty of decent people working in business in the U.S.

Clearly, there are.

Similarly, there are doubtless plenty of corporations which behave decently as well. Nonetheless, it is hard not to deny a whole host of dubious—if not despicable—practices which occur on a daily basis, and which are, pretty much, taken for granted.

The lack of equal pay for women my well be the most outrageous—but there are numerous others from Right To Work laws (which really mean you can be fired on demand), to replacing American workers in America with foreign imports of H-1B visas.

Apart from anything else, the English language is being corrupted.  

A reasonable person might well consider such a pattern of behavior to be disgusting—and entirely unacceptable—whether or not it actually breaks the law.

It often does—but to no effect because the various enforcement agencies know that they will be putting their own jobs at risk, if they enforce the law. Many know which side their bread is buttered—and choose not to.

In short, even though we all know perfectly well that a whole string of corporate actions is wrong—and should not be tolerated—such behavior has become the cultural norm. Our standards, once again, have been ratcheted down.

We shrug. We rationalize. “What can I do? That’s just the reality of life,” we say.

Helplessness can easily morph into despair. And it does.

The rampant drug abuse, alcoholism, general ill health, and unnecessary deaths of so many white Americans of limited education demonstrates graphically that such shabby corporate behavior can, and does, have terrible consequences.

Half a million dead before their time is a truly shocking statistic. And yet it hasn’t caused mass outrage!

Meanwhile corporate CEOs use financial engineering, and every other trick they can think of, so that they can artificially boost their share prices and pay themselves several hundred times what their normal workers get paid (and sometimes a great deal more). There seems to be absolutely no limits to greed—no limits to corporate callousness.

The standards of the American Business Model are as low as they are because, for all practical purposes, there is—as matters stand—no system of checks and balances where powerful corporations are concerned in the U.S.

Corporate power is now dominant. The political party that represents them, the Republicans, has moved so far to the right—and is so excessive in its ideologoy—that both Nixon and Reagan would probably been rejected by them.

The U.S. is now a corporate state and a plutocracy. It is no longer a representative democracy. The representatives (Congress) listen only to their donors. The average voter is ignored.

Would that the latter were merely an opinion. It is not. It is a heavily researched fact.

  •  The political system has largely bought by the ultra-rich and the corporations they control.
  • Since the 1970s, legislation has, by and large, favored corporations and undermined employee rights.
  • The executive is largely neutered by the political system. 
  • The legal system is not enforcing many of the laws which are on the books. Anti-trust legislation is a classic example—and it is salutary that despite much blatant financial criminality, virtually no one in the financial sector was prosecuted individually after the Great Recession.
  • Unions have been almost completely crushed in the private sector and are under serious attack in the public sector.
  • The individual, if employed by a corporation, speaks up at his or her peril—and runs a great chance of being both fired and blacklisted.

The abuse of the H-1B program is a classic example of the kind of corporate behavior which should not be allowed. It is widespread.

People don’t fight back because they don’t know how, they are scared—with good reason—and they are ignorant.

“Land of the free,” is no more than the words of a song. In this context, they should read: “Land of the frightened.” This systematic onslaught by the ultra-rich has cowed all too many Americans into being politically supine. The risks of fighting back are too great.

Disney H-1B Scandal in Spotlight Again: Meet The American Workers Whose Jobs and Careers Were Destroyed by the H-1B Program - Economic Policy Institute

Posted October 28, 2015 at 7:25 pm by Ron Hira

Two courageous Disney workers were interviewed yesterday on a local television news program in Sarasota, Florida. In the interview, they describe what it was like to train their foreign replacements: “Like when a guillotine falls down on you.” It’s hard to overestimate how many Americans’ livelihoods have been damaged by the H-1B visa guestworker program, which allows employers to hire about 130,000 new college-educated foreign workers every year for up to six years at a time.

The Disney H-1B scandal broke into the national spotlight when the New York Times covered it in June. This news came in the wake of LA Times reporting thatSouthern California Edison was replacing hundreds of American workers with H-1B guestworkers. These two cases are only the tip of the iceberg. Employers looking to cut costs have replaced, substituted, and overlooked American workers for hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the U.S. government has facilitated the suppression of their wages for decades through its management of H-1B guestworker program.

In response to the Edison story, 10 U.S. Senators spanning the ideological spectrum (from Bernie Sanders to James Inhofe), wrote to the Obama administration asking for an investigation. After investigating, the Obama Administration let one of the companies, Infosys, off the hook, claiming that the law allowed Infosys to replace those American workers with H-1B guestworkers, who were paid tens of thousands of dollars less to do the same jobs.

The Obama administration has been very aggressive in its interpretation about the executive branch’s authority over immigration rules. But when it comes to ensuring that American workers impacted by the visa program are treated fairly, President Obama has decided to look the other way. If the Obama Administration feels its hands are tied by the law, it should push Congress hard to reform the programs. Instead, they have done nothing.

Instead of diligently working to find a solution to this widespread H-1B visa abuse, Obama’s DHS team has been working overtime to create a new, large guestworker program that allows employers to easily exploit and underpay (or not pay) foreign students who can work for them for up to 3 years; this is known as Optional Practical Training or “OPT.” The updated OPT program the president is proposing will mean even more lost jobs and wages for American workers. Especially hard hit will be recent college graduates who invested years and tens of thousands of dollars to obtain degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, but are faring terribly in this economy under the dual weight of a dismal job market and mountainous student debts.

Through its actions the Obama administration is effectively inviting employers to pad their profits by replacing their American workers with cheaper H-1B guestworkers. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney and a big financial supporter to the Obama campaign, is laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of his American workers. Mr. Iger is a leader in the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group advocating for more H-1Bs by claiming that there’s a shortage of American talent.

Hopefully the H-1B issue will be raised in tonight’s GOP presidential debate. The Disney scandal is taking place in Florida, home to two of the candidates, Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Jeb Bush. Both candidates have proposed to expand the H-1B program without fixing any of the program’s flaws, which allow American workers to be overlooked for jobs or replaced by cheaper temporary workers. Donald Trump (of all people), the front-runner for several months, will be the only candidate on the stage tonight who has proposed sensible ways to fix the H-1B program: he has proposed that American workers have a first shot at job openings and would prevent employers from using the H-1B as a cheap labor program.

No comments:

Post a Comment